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The Delhi High Court Thursday reserved its verdict on a plea by Indraprastha Gas Ltd. (IGL) to stay a regulator’s order to cut CNG price in the national capital and refund the excess amount charged from consumers since 2008.

The petitioner had moved court contending that the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) did not give it a hearing and calculated the tariff, announced April 9, on the basis of the 2008 price levels for various inputs and charges.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice R.S. Endlaw sought an assurance from Additional Solicitor General (ASG) A.S. Chandhiok, appearing for PNGRB, to refrain from taking any coercive steps against IGL till the court’s verdict.

Chandhiok gave his assurance to the court that no coercive action will be taken by the regulatory board with regard to its retrospective order directing IGL to pay the excess amount charged from customers from April 1, 2008 for compressed natural gas (CNG) and piped gas.

Senior counsel Parag P. Tripathy, appearing for IGL, contended that the board’s order will put an additional burden of Rs.1,500 crore on the company.The board earlier said that it had sought clarifications over data on capital and operating expenditure submitted by IGL in May 2009.

The regulator told the company to reduce its network tariff by 63 percent to Rs.38.58 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) as against Rs.104.05 per mmBtu sought by the company.It also cut compression charge for CNG by 59 percent to Rs.2.75 per kg from Rs.6.66 per kg proposed by the company.

IGL in March hiked the prices of CNG in Delhi by Rs.1.70 a kg and Rs.1.90 per kg in Noida, citing a rise in input cost as the factor.

The current price of CNG is Rs.35.45 a kg in Delhi and Rs.39.80 a kg in Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad.

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